What is childcare?
Childcare services help parents by looking after their children. If your child is at least 1 year old, they are legally entitled to early childhood education. Younger children may also be entitled to a place if their parents are unable to look after them themselves, for example if both parents are working.
What types of services are available?
Children under 3
Crèches, toddler groups, mixed-age groups, socio-educational playgroups and company-based facilities offer care for children under the age of 3. In most groups, up to ten children are looked after at the same time, while the mixed-age groups can include up to ten kindergarten-aged children between the ages of 3 and 6 and five children under the age of 3.
Children over 3
Children aged 3 and over are generally cared for in preschools.
In all facilities, trained educational staff and staff with educational and nursing qualifications are responsible for your child's early development.
Kindertagespflege (childminding) means that a childminder looks after your child – usually in their own home or in the family home. A childminder can look after up to five children at the same time. Childminding services are also available in external child-friendly spaces, where two professionals look after up to ten children together. The professionals work together, similarly to the staff in a preschool.
Many children attend a preschool before starting school. Rather than simply looking after the children while the parents are at work, crèches and preschools are also educational institutions, where children learn many important things such as social behaviours within the group, how to interact with other children and how to adhere to certain structures. Preschools also provide language development and early childhood education in various areas. Attending a preschool lays the foundations for a successful start in school.
Your path to securing a childcare place
Search for childcare offerings
Search online to find the right childcare option for your child at any time. You can search for a place in a childcare facility or with a childminder at any location of your choice. The respective profiles of the facilities include information on opening hours, the level of care provided and the educational work done with the children. Based on this information, you can choose an option that suits the needs of your child and your family.
Choose a facility
Select the facility of your choice. The maximum number of facilities you can select varies by federal state. You have reached the maximum number when you can no longer add another facility.
You will now need to enter your and your child's data to begin the application process. Once you have completed the application process, you can download your application as a PDF file for your records. Your application will be sent automatically to the facilities you have selected, and after which you will receive a confirmation.
Receiving a childcare place
The various childcare facilities allocate places on the basis of set criteria. Once you have been offered a childcare place, you can then accept the place within the acceptance period. If the childcare place is subject to a fee, you can provide the necessary details after the contract has been concluded. If you have any questions regarding the admission of your child, please contact the facility directly.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your child is at least 1 year old, they are legally entitled to early childhood education. Younger children may also be entitled to a place if their parents are unable to look after them themselves, for example if both parents are working. Childcare facilities and preschools offer early childhood development care.
Your local authority is responsible for the childcare facilities in your town or municipality. Click here to find out more about application deadlines, admission criteria and your legal entitlements.
The online portal allows you to apply to the childcare service of your choice from the comfort of your own home. Simply enter the data relevant to the application and submit it to up to three preferred facilities. If a facility is able to offer you a place, they will contact you directly.
First, you collect information about which childcare services are available in your area that suit your needs. Important criteria for selecting a suitable facility include the level of care, opening hours, and the educational work staff do with children in the facilities. Once you have found a suitable option, you can easily apply to up to three facilities via the online portal. They will automatically receive the relevant information and can then quickly decide whether they have a place available for you. You can find a How To guide to help you fill in the application form here.
Your details will be transmitted automatically to the facilities of your choice as described. If the childcare service of your choice is able to offer you a place, it will contact you within the customary period. If a local community receives more applications than it has places available, it will allocate places on the basis of certain criteria.
If it is not possible to allocate you a place in your facility of choice, you will be notified as soon as possible. The facility will then advise you on how to proceed with your application. For example, it may place you on a waiting list for a specific facility or include you in a placement procedure.
Find out which childcare facilities are available in your area before you apply. Your local authority will be happy to help you.
When choosing a facility, it is important make sure that its offerings suit your family's needs. The facilities' websites contain information on the opening hours, the level of care offered and the educational work staff do with the children, for example.
Many crèches and preschools also offer information events such as open days. You should take advantage of these opportunities to get to know the facilities and their staff.
Step 1: Search
Once you have researched the childcare services in your area and found facilities that suit your family's needs, you can start the application process via the online portal. The portal will first show you which facilities are participating in the online application process.
Step 2: Selection
Select the facilities to which you wish to apply by clicking on the 'Facility' (Einrichtung) button. You can enter up to three preferred institutions.
Step 3: Application
Start the application process and enter your details. Once completed, your details will be sent automatically to the selected facilities, after which you will receive a confirmation.
Step 4: Allocation of places
The facilities will review your application and let you know whether they have a place for your child.